Yesterday, the mandate participated in the first meeting of a UNICEF community of practice on Indigenous Children’s Rights, regarding indigenous children, where topics included Indigenous Children Human Rights Defenders. Indigenous and Environmental Human Rights Defenders are among the most at risk in the world and the mandate receives many submissions on cases related to both.
Child Human Rights Defenders are a priority for the Special Rapporteur and a focus on them is becoming ever more important considering the increased numbers of children and youth defending their rights including in relation to Climate Change. The mandate drew attention to challenges on cases relating to Indigenous Child Human Rights Defenders, including the global community’s hesitation to recognize Child Human Rights defenders as such, and lack of cases relating to Children HRDs being submitted. It was also able to present its work on Child HRDs, including the recent case of the killing of 14 year old Indigenous Nasa Child Human Rights Defender Breiner Cucuname in Colombia in January of this year.
Among its conclusions from the event, UNICEF highlighted the need to empower Indigenous Child HRDs, and the importance of considering children, including Indigenous children as HRDs, and acknowledging the risks they face.